No Minister

Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

The Hunger Masks

with 14 comments

“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and . . . then retreated back into their money . . . and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”

I don’t know how many of our readers are aware of a famous and very successful series of books and movies from the last decade called The Hunger Games.

They’re SF stories set in a dystopian future where glittering technology exists in a feudal society. In fact that technology enables it. For the purposes of this post the following is a key plotline:

[The Hunger Games] universe is a dystopia set in Panem, a North American country consisting of the wealthy Capitol and 13 districts in varying states of poverty. Every year, children from the first 12 districts are selected via lottery to participate in a compulsory televised battle royale death match called The Hunger Games.

Capitol citizens are extremely wealthy and life moves very slowly until the Games,… Many Capitol residents are extremely shallow, always looking for ways to be noticed. An outrageous sense of style and fashion are very important to the citizens of the Capitol… Capitol citizens are noted to have quite high ranking and integral roles and occupations for Panem as a whole…

You get the picture.

While not quite as gaudy as those characters, the following is a great example of how the same attitudes are rampant among our rulers nowadays, as San Francisco Mayor London Breed, had fun the other day in a San Francisco nightclub. I guess she’s read some of these counter-narrative articles on masks.

What she’s actually doing in that video is announcing the new law that you do not have to wear a mask if:

  1.  You are “having a good time,”
  2. “Feeling the spirit,”
  3. Watching the reunion of a band you like.

BTW, she insists that the reunion of the jazz band, Tony Toni Tone, is the story here, and not her defying her own mask mandate. I especially loved this quote:

“We don’t need the fun police to come in and micromanage and tell us what we should or shouldn’t be doing,” she said during an interview, contending she was drinking at the time and started dancing because she was “feeling the spirit” and “wasn’t thinking about a mask,” according to reports.

The irony in that statement is so fucking thick you could cut it with a knife.

Perhaps SF citizens should keep that in mind if an actual cop (very much not “fun”) or some other asshole hassles them about wearing a mask. Maybe print out her interview answers on a card to show cops that the law has been repealed by the mayor herself.

This is nothing new of course, for in the past year the following has occurred:

California Governor Newsom at a lovely dinner with other unmasked rich people at one of the world’s most expensive restaurants, the French Laundry. The staff are masked of course, per order of the Governor.

Barack Obama’s 60th birthday unmasked bash with his celebrity friends at their home in Martha’s Vineyard. The servants wore masks.

Obama’s Party

Nancy Pelosi’s fundraiser in the expensive vine yards of California. The servants wore masks.

And of course, the Met Ball a few days ago.

These people either don’t believe their own bullshit about masks (and other things) or they’re glorying in applying those rules to little people who can’t fight back, at least not without ending up in jail.

Or perhaps what we Untermenchen should take from all these events is that they’re just deliberately rubbing our noses in this shit. That the whole point is to make it clear who the boss is: that the rules apply to us, not them, and they want us to know it.

We are ruled by terrible, unkind, incompetent, uncaring people. I’m tempted to say that they are evil people, not out of deliberation but shallow callousness.

Minaj à trois

with 3 comments

There’s definitely a lot of weird shit going on at the moment around the world.

None weirder than Chinese Xi Snot’s effect on otherwise seemingly normal people, turning them into frightened, fearful souls who have become toxic to friends and family and wear masks on a beach and in parks.

With politicians it’s been quite the opposite: power mad control freaks doesn’t even begin to cover them, almost without exception.

So it should not be a surprise to see pushback coming from unexpected places. Weird places – like Nicki Minaj.

You don’t know who she is? Of course you don’t. Few people over the age of 30 would:

Onika Tanya Maraj-Petty (born December 8, 1982), known professionally as Nicki Minaj, is a Trinidadian-born rapper, singer, and songwriter. She is known for her animated flow in her rapping and versatility as a recording artist.

Minaj is one of the best selling female artists of all time with 100 million records sold worldwide. Her numerous accolades include eight American Music Awards, five MTV Video Music Awards, twelve BET Awards, four Billboard Music Awards, a Brit Award, and a Guinness World RecordBillboard ranked her the top female rapper of the 2010s, as well as ranking her seventh among the top female artists of the decade.

Nicki Minaj

She also has 22 million followers on Twitter and 175 million on Instagram. In other words she’s a very big deal in terms of youth culture. Like other celebrities she talks a lot of shit because attention is like oxygen for these people, while also feeding their vast incomes, which in turn pushes them to being even crazier.

This includes giving health advice, as actress Gwyneth Paltrow has done for years, while also selling vagina-scented candles.

Her vagina to be specific.

You therefore probably don’t want to know about Sandra Bullock’s penis facialswhere Josh Brolin got sunburned, or what’s in the Kardashians’ smoothies. But rest assured that Demi Moore only uses “highly trained medical leeches.

In particular the anti-vaccine movement has been powered for years before now by the likes of Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carrey, Robert Kennedy Jr. and other anti-vaccine activists who were given a welcome platform by Oprah Winfrey, The View (beloved by the Jacinda demographic of women viewers in their 50’s) and other MSM places.

But all of this has usually been treated as an eye-rolling joke by both the Left and the Right, as well as by the government, even when it came to Public Health Care. The attitude was that there will always be a fringe, but they’re not going to have an effect, even with masses of followers.

Until now. The shit storm stated with this Tweet from Minaj.

While I’m no medical expert I really can’t see how an mRNA vaccine would make your testicles swell up as well as causing impotence. But as I said, this is just the usual celebrity bullshit.

The immediate pushback came from fellow media personalities, though nobody with Minaj’s number of followers. There were critical pieces about her at CNNVoxCNBC, the BBC, the American late-night comics made her the butt of their jokes. But it was MSNBC’s Joy Reid, who did a whole segment denouncing Minaj, that really got things going:

Joy Reid

“You have a platform, sister, that is 22 million followers, okay. I have two million followers. You have 22 million followers on Twitter. For you to use your platform to encourage our community to not protect themselves and save their lives, my God, sister, you could do better than that.”

Minaj did not back down. She called Reid a “lying homophobic coon” (Reid has history) and an “Uncle Tomiana”, among other things.

Minaj also revealed that she’s not vaxxed…

The Met was the fancy NYC ball party I posted on the other day, where Lefty hypocrites of all stripes gathered.

So things escalated further. Saint Anthony Fauci felt the need to go on national TV to talk this down. The awesome power of the USA Today and PolitiFact “fact checkers” went into action. Even the Whitehouse reached out, offering a doctor with expertise (not Fauci I presume).

This reaction was beyond belief considering how such people have been ignored by TPTB in the past. But things went even crazier when Tucker Carlson, the Great White Hated of the US Left, covered the story and made the following point :

“The part where she says you should pray on it. Make the decision yourself, like a free human being and “don’t be bullied”. So our media and public health officials didn’t like this because they make their livings bullying people. So they couldn’t let it stand.”

And then she Tweeted out that clip.

MELTDOWN. There was the usual Leftie Tweet Mass Attack that a reference to Carlson invites. But Minaj hit back at those too (in keeping with the rap/hip hop ethos, she fights).

If you’ve wondered why Trump’s 2020 vote share rose among Blacks and Hispanics, this is yet another example.

Minaj has crossed a line that public-health experts, the MSM, and many politicians are enforcing hard around the world. She committed a sin they cannot ignore or forgive, which is to defy them on this issue. It’s been quite a thing watching the spectacle of the entire US medical, MSM, Entertainment (in particular since she’s one of them) and political establishments bringing all of their weight to bear upon her.

That’s because they’re increasingly desperate, so every claim, no matter how spectacularly outlandish and no matter the source, must be policed by our public-health-disinformation watchers, because those gullible masses could be swayed by any blasphemy.

The thing is that’s not going to work. All of these establishment health experts and MSM fact-checkers are putting enormous effort into an attempt to persuade the kinds of people who instinctively reject the recommendations of establishment health experts and barely pay any attention to the MSM.

Beyond such sober reactions, the furious and widespread denunciation and mockery of Minaj will also not have the effect the medical, media, entertainment and political establishments think it will. It may even backfire.

Nicki Minaj is not going to be “canceled.” She’s already fabulously wealthy – she’s worth between $80-100 million – so doesn’t need money. Her fan base of tens of millions, possibly hundreds of millions, isn’t going to abandon her if she maintains a vaccine-sceptical position. She utterly rejects the moral authority of her critics and defiance of what other people think is her brand.

They need to pick another target to crush. Ordinary people should do and judging from results to date, the proles may even like it and want it.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 18, 2021 at 2:30 pm

Chinese Xi Snot Risk Calculations

with 4 comments

Here’s fun to while away the time in lockdown.

A website set up by Oxford University: QCovid Risk Assessment.

You have to scroll down the first page and hit the ACCEPT button for the license to use the software, but after that it’s a matter of punching in your age, weight, health factors and so forth.

It uses British data of course, including stuff on your location but aside from a couple of factors the rest should apply here if you’re not of Maori or Pacific Island descent (obviously Britain would not have a lot of Covid data for those demographics)

There’s also this disclaimer

PLEASE NOTE: This implementation of the QCovid risk calculator is NOT intended for use supporting or informing clinical decision-making. It is ONLY to be used for academic research, peer review and validation purposes, and it must NOT be used with data or information relating to any individual. 

I wonder how long they’ll leave this site up, since obviously individuals will do what I and other have done here.

Running my data through the system I find that my risks from Covid-19 are as follows:

SICKNESSDEATH
1 chance in 11641 chance in 6211

In other words in a crowd of 10,000 people with the same risk factors as me, 2 are likely to catch and die from COVID-19 and 10 to be admitted to hospital during a 90 day period similar to the recent peak in Britain.

Of course the data is changing all the time as more is learned.

Still, I should probably be hiding under the bed with a mask on.

You can’t be too careful

Written by Tom Hunter

September 11, 2021 at 1:50 pm

Masquerade

There’s so much bullshit that has attended the great Chinese Xi Snot pandemic that it’s sometimes hard to know where to start.

The lockdowns. The 2 metre seperation rule. The testing. The treatments. The vaccines.

The masks.

There has been as much to and fro on this subject as the others, starting with the Ultimate Political Medical Bureaucrat, Dr Fauci, endlessly flip-flopping. Talk about misinformation.

Then there was this from Michael Osterholm, Director of Minnesota University’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy: 

But this has been known for over a year. Back to Dr Fauci, this time in an email in February 2020

“The typical mask you buy in the drug store is not really effective in keeping out virus, which is small enough to pass through the material. It might, however, provide some slight benefit in keep out gross droplets if someone coughs or sneezes on you. I do not recommend you wear a mask”

The CDC had the same information, although it took an accidental admission to reveal the truth:

There have been more detailed studies done on masks during this pandemic and this link has a very comprehensive list of twelve studies, with links to the resulting medical papers. We’re not talking nutcase sources either. Here’s just four of them:

  1. A May 2020 meta-study on pandemic influenza published by the US CDC found that face masks had no effect, neither as personal protective equipment nor as a source control. (Source)
  2. Danish randomized controlled trial with 6000 participants, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in November 2020, found no statistically significant effect of high-quality medical face masks against SARS-CoV-2 infection in a community setting. (Source)
  3. A large randomized controlled trial with close to 8000 participants, published in October 2020 in PLOS One, found that face masks “did not seem to be effective against laboratory-confirmed viral respiratory infections nor against clinical respiratory infection.” (Source)
  4. A February 2021 review by the European CDC found no high-quality evidence in favor of face masks and recommended their use only based on the ‘precautionary principle’. (Source)

It also linked to nine studies that claim that masks can sometimes be effective, but all of the studies had flaws:

  1. meta-study in the journal Lancet, commissioned by the WHOclaimed that masks “could” lead to a reduction in the risk of infection, but the studies considered mainly N95 respirators in a hospital setting, not cloth masks in a community setting, the strength of the evidence was reported as “low”, and experts found numerous flaws in the study. Professor Peter Jueni, epidemiologist at the University of Toronto, called the WHO study “essentially useless”.
  2. A study in the journal PNAS claimed that masks had led to a decrease in infections in three global hotspots (including New York City), but the study did not take into account the natural decrease in infections and other simultaneous measures. The study was so flawed that over 40 scientists recommended that the study be withdrawn.

The N95 mask probably can work, but the cloth masks you see everyday on people’s faces are just a joke. It should not be a surprise given that CDC announcement on smoke particles. The initial thinking was that the virus spread via droplets expelled by sneezing and coughing sufferers of Covid-19, but since then it’s been demonstrated that the virus can move through the air in very small drops or even on its own.

As a result the following charts should not be a surprise either:

This, finally, is where this insanity ends. In an act of lawful evil.

Hey! I thought that knee stuff went out the window after George Floyd? Still an approved technique in the NZ Police obviously.

In any case had the NZ guy died though it wouldn’t have mattered. Victims of police brutality are either politically approved or politically unapproved, and the NZ guy falls into the former category.

Could be worse. That guy was arrested and handcuffed because he refused to wear a mask indoors. Over in News South Wales a father got arrested and handcuffed for not wearing one outdoors while walking with his daughter. I wonder how much confidence she’ll have in the cops for the rest of her life.

All for a masquerade.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 9, 2021 at 6:00 am

Everything in the Lockdown, nothing outside the Lockdown, nothing against the Lockdown.

For those of you who have been clinging to the idea that once we reach a certain level of a vaccinated population, masks and lockdowns would come to a blessed, permanent end, I have two pieces of bad news for you.

First from this country (H/T Kiwiblog):

“University of Otago epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker told Stuff we may never return to level 1, with mask wearing becoming a feature of our lives for the foreseeable future.”

“Unfortunately this is the new reality,” he said.”

“There isn’t a utopia of living with the virus in the future. It may be quite grim.”

Not even Level 1, let alone Level 0? So even if you are fully vaccinated your life anywhere in this country is going to be “quite grim” for the “foreseeable future”.

Second from Israel, where the Delta version is ripping through the vaccinated population:

Israel’s experience is forcing the booster issue onto the radar for other nations, suggesting as it does that even the best vaccinated countries will face a Delta surge.

“This is a very clear warning sign for the rest of world,” says Ran Balicer, chief innovation officer at Clalit Health Services (CHS), Israel’s largest health maintenance organization (HMO). “If it can happen here, it can probably happen everywhere.”

It looks like vaccine efficacy against transmission drops to about 20 percent after 8 months, hence the increasing talk of a need for booster shots. Protection against serious illness also declines but much more slowly.

The key points here are that cases of Delta and other mutations will occur and spread and that nevertheless the death rates will be low.

This is the “foreseeable future” that the likes of Baker are determined to avoid at all other costs, even though it would literally wreck the country and our lives.

Not only that but these prescriptive restrictions are clearly flexible. You have to wear a mask while shopping or at the gym and similar enclosed places. But “obviously” (the PM’s word) you don’t need one while eating or drinking in a restaurant.

Actually if the aim is to knock down Covid-19 it’s not obvious at all because in a restaurant how can you reasonably maintain a two metre distance? What’s the point of restricting indoor gatherings to fifty people while ignoring the size of the venue? Clearly the government are becoming fearful of small business failures, hence this stupid fudge.

I’m asking rhetorical questions of course. The reality is that these measures will do fuck all, especially to prevent a disease with an infection rate like that of the common cold, and especially in areas without infection.

There’s also this warning about the waning immunity when it comes to border workers and what that implies:

“Our essential workers at the borders, their immunity goes away. And we don’t know whether they’re gonna be protected against infection and transmitting infection,” Malaghan Institute immunologist Professor Graham Le Gros told Newshub Nation. 

But he then goes on to say this:

“Until we get everyone jabbed in this country, we are a ticking time bomb.”

So like the lockdown itself it’s 100% or bust! There are no systems that work 100% of the time.

The NZ Government and the Health authorities must be aware of this and yet there is no sign that either group is thinking strategically about this, which thinking would include the following:

  • The “science” behind the elimination policy, even as it defined by healthcare authorities rather than common understanding, was based on a highly effective vaccine becoming available.
  • Despite best efforts and hopes that is not the case, which to me anyway is not a surprise given that we’ve never developed a vaccine against the Common Cold, since it’s based on the rapidly mutating families of Coronaviruses and Rhinoviruses.
  • The vaccines still seem to provide reasonable protection against severe illness and death, especially among the population targeted by this virus: 70+ years of age and/or with health problems.
  • The sooner we accept this is endemic, the better. Accept that some people are going to die despite best efforts short of lockdown.
  • Tell people right now that these restrictions will be in place until everyone who wishes to be vaccinated has had that chance. Once it is clear that vaccine supply is no longer the constraint, the Government will give 30 days notice that all restrictions will be removed. Aim for December 1st, 2021.
  • There is a potential threat to hospitals from case loads, not that this also means mass deaths, but that other healthcare needs will be crowded out.
  • So start pushing hard on therapeutic remedies like monoclonal antibodies that ease the sickness and symptoms and allow the body time to fight the virus.
  • Push out information on how to use such therapies in a safe way to care and nurse covid-sick family members at home, thus relieving the pressure on hospitals rather than relying solely on the vaccination program. This is actually what we do with other diseases.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 7, 2021 at 12:08 pm

As you stare into the vacuum of their eyes

As a follow-up to my post the other day about the infamous and discredited “Fact Checking” industry, herewith a story about yet another stain on their media hand maidens. These things happen so frequently one can’t keep up so it’s really a matter of picking the most prominent.

The magazine Rolling Stone had a proud history from its start in the late 1960’s covering the rapidly groth industry of rock music. Over the decades it produced a lot of interesting stuff: interviews with musicians and other artists, reviews of albums. It even made some good forays into politics.

While the rest of the MSM has been crushed in revenues by things like Craigslist, followed by Google and Facebook, specialist magazines have been punished by the Internet in different ways. In the case of Rolling Stone, two specific ways.

First of all, music listeners of all ages no longer wait for such places to review albums and singles. As those hit the likes of iTunes and Spotify they’re instantly blasted around the world to billions of people who make up their own minds as to whether they were “good” (not listening to “experts”, shocking I know). Even if you want to analyze why a song is brilliant there are people on the Internet who can do that analysis far more brilliantly (see Rick Beato in Two Artists and two works of Art).

Second, the stars themselves could reach their fans directly and in ways far more immediate and intimate than could be obtained in stuffy old interviews. Neither group really needed Rolling Stone any more.

As a result, the magazine has degenerated in the same way that the rest of the MSM industry has; the shallow, slimey world of click-bait, Left-Wing ideology pushed harder than ever, and partisan political hackery.

I thought they had reached bottom a few years ago when they ran a huge cover story about a gang rape at a university that turned out to be a complete hoax. But they managed to go lower than that when they put a full-face picture of one of the Boston Marathon bombers on the cover: just like a rock star.

By comparison the hit job they tried the other day doesn’t seem so bad. There’s been quite the debate about whether a product called Ivermectin can be used to treat patients suffering from Chinese Xi Snot virus. It’s used to de-worm horses but has long been approved for the same function in humans. It’s about 50 years old and its inventor won a Nobel Prize for it.

Whether it’s any good against the symptoms of this virus I don’t know, but certainly those groups pushing vaccination (including mandatory vaccination) are very much against it. They don’t appear too keen on pushing other treatments like monoclonal antibodies either, despite that having medically documented success in treating Covid-19 patients.

But if you’re against the use of Ivermectin then you pull out the emotional big guns of the debate: that you’re killing more deserving people because you’re a pig-ignorant moron who OD’d on it and and thus deprived them of hospital beds. Even (gasp) gunshot victims (fall to knees, wring hands, wail loudly until you guilt your way to forcing others to do as you say).

The problem with their heart-wrenching, shroud-waving story was that it was bullshit, as would have been revealed by a few phone calls to the hospital.

While not as bad as the rape story and Boston Bomber stuff it is still another example of how shoddy “journalism” is nowadays. All the good ones are moving to Substack (“A place for independent writing”).

Oh, and remember that it was a medical doctor who started and went with these lies. A sort of lessor Dr Fauci.

For fun, here’s the Babylon Bee.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 6, 2021 at 12:33 pm

The Shadow was only a small and passing thing

For those who enjoyed tracking hurricanes a few years ago there was no better choice than Brendan Loy (dead blog) who was a mid-twenties geek with a blog and a love of hurricanes.

Compared to a decade or more ago he’s on a lot of channels nowadays but back in the day he really got on top of Hurricane Katrina, and Hurricane Sandy that hit NYC in 2012.

I was thinking about this today as Hurricane Ida decided to almost repeat Katrina’s path from 2005 but just went slightly West of the great Southern city. Which is a good thing because apparently the US has learned nothing in 16 years.

Or perhaps it’s just that Western bureaucracies have not been able to do real stuff for the last fifty years.

But what the hell.

“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”

For the US Army Corp of Engineers.

Written by Tom Hunter

August 30, 2021 at 8:25 pm

Posted in Science, Technology, USA

Got ya Reductio ad absurdum right here

In logic, reductio ad absurdum (Latin for “reduction to absurdity”), is the form of argument that attempts to establish a claim by showing that the opposite scenario would lead to absurdity or contradiction.

It can be used to disprove a statement by showing that it would inevitably lead to a ridiculous, absurd, or impractical conclusion, or to prove a statement by showing that if it were false, then the result would be absurd or impossible.

If the people in that video weren’t white and speaking in Aussie accents, you’d be mistaken for thinking this was coming out of some third-world dictatorship in the Middle East or South America. Afghanistan perhaps.

I’ve seen more than a few jibes in recent days about the comparison between the Taliban and Right Wing conservatives: you know the diatribe; anti-abortion, anti-gay, etc.

But those are just the symptoms. The true hallmark of the Taliban is authoritarianism and totalitarianism, and on that front the State governments of New South Wales and Victoria, and their Police, are the ones looking more like the Taliban every day.

If you support lockdowns don’t make excuses for what you’ve just seen and don’t kid yourself that it can’t happen here in New Zealand. What you’re seeing is the entirely logical result (the post started with a quote about logic) of how governments have reacted to Covid-19, especially with lockdowns that are repeated.

I’ve added the “Post Covid-19” tag on this post as a bit of a joke. This is our post-Covid-19 world.

Written by Tom Hunter

August 19, 2021 at 11:55 am

Freedom, Consequences and Responsibility

Eighteen months ago one of the most powerful arguments in favour of lockdowns was that it would be utterly irresponsible for people to freely move around when they could catch Chinese Lung Rot and pass it on to vulnerable people – in this case the elderly – who could die from it.

The advent of vaccines in record time, thanks to President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed, mean that argument is no longer valid. While the vaccines will not prevent a person from catching the virus or spreading it, they do quash the chances that you’ll die from it even if you are one of the vulnerable.

So it’s all good. What happens now? Well it turns out that The Powers That Be (TPTB) just can’t let go of the giddy sense of power involved with controlling entire populations. Not everybody is getting vaccinated, new variants of the disease are appearing all the time and so the goalposts are changing, as Jim Treacher so aptly sums it up on Substack:

1. Absolutely do not wear a mask

2. You must, must, must wear a mask or you’re killing Grandma

3. Don’t leave the house or you’re killing Grandma

4. If you can’t avoid leaving the house, stay at least six feet away from any other human being you see or you’re killing Grandma

5. Wash your hands 20 times a day

6. Do not touch your face or anything else, ever

7. Get vaccinated so you don’t have to wear a mask

8. You have to wear a mask even if you’re vaccinated

9. When the above rules change, and then change back, and then change back again, shut up about it or you’re a stupid MAGA-head

10. Don’t forget to vote Democrat!

In that article Treacher writes that he’s vaccinated and thinks those who don’t want to be are idiots. He’s also always been anti-Trump, but not to the TDS-stage. It also turns out that it’s not the stupid MAGA-heads that are the problem…

There are other charts showing similar “not the narrative” results for young vs old, non-religious vs religious, White vs Black and Hispanic.

Combine that with the Delta variant (and others to follow), plus MSM hysteria and politicians who see long-term blood on their hands as preferable to short-term blood, and you get the inevitable:

Melbourne, a major Australian city, just entered its 6th lockdown. (Yes, you read that correctly). It joins many of the nation’s other major metropolises, such as Sydney and Brisbane, in once again restricting its economy and social life. According to the BBC, the lockdown will be in place until at least August 28 and “bars people from leaving their home except for essential exercise, shopping, caregiving and other reasons.”

It’s mind-boggling that the Australian government is practically placing its citizens under house arrest and outlawing their incomes over five deaths per day. It’s particularly bizarre given that countless studies have shown the ineffectiveness of stay-at-home orders and lockdown policies. (In fact, most COVID-19 spread happens at home.) 

In Sydney the army has been pulled in to force people to stay in their homes, even going with the cops on door-to-door compliance checks. Police helicopters are overhead, warning people in parks with police action and fines. It’s worked too; there is genuine fear over being caught outside without a permissible excuse. Nobody is allowed more than 5 kilometers from their home address, only one person per household may leave to purchase supplies once a day, and Sydney-siders are not permitted to speak to friends; they may only get what they need and return home. All this for about 250 cases from more than 100,000 tests, plus five deaths a day in a city of millions.

Then there’s Fortress NZ for ever?:

Fortress New Zealand can begin to open in early 2022 provided all New Zealanders have had the chance to be vaccinated, according to the Government’s hand-picked group of scientists advising on reopening New Zealand to the world.

But that travel should be at first restricted to vaccinated Kiwis going overseas from New Zealand for short trips, and should begin with shorter stays in managed isolation.

This is about more, much more, than the specific actions of any specific government on this specific disease.

This is about a new ruling class in the West, one that can do all these things to the people while still itself being able to have maskless fun in close proximity with friends and donors in one of the most expensive restaurants in the world (California Governor Newsom), send their family off to Florida while locking down Illinois (IL Governor Priztker), or allow their top aides escape to Florida while warning about the people of her state traveling (MI Governor Whitmer), or having a big bash 60th birthday party (former President Obama) because, as the NYT put it, he had invited “a sophisticated, vaccinated crowd” who were “following all the safety precautions.”

Back to Jim Treacher, Democrats Don’t Need Masks Because They’re Better Than You:

“The virus knows. It knows what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, and it only punishes people who don’t read The Atlantic or listen to NPR. If you can recite a MyPillow ad from memory, you need to wear a mask when you’re told to wear a mask. But if you can pick Lin-Manuel Miranda out of a lineup, you don’t have anything to worry about. That’s how COVID-19 works. That’s just the settled science.”

Or more generally:

Last year at Encounter Books, we published an admonitory book by Joel Kotkin called The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning To The Global Middle Class. Some people thought Kotkin was overstating things with his talk of an increasingly stratified society in which a tiny elite lorded it over an increasingly pauperized and disenfranchised mass. It turns out, though, that if anything Kotkin understated the trends. The weaponization of public health diktats, their enforcement by a vast and increasingly overbearing cadre of nanny-state bureaucrats, is simply the latest manifestation of the profoundly anti-democratic spirit that has taken hold in Western societies. 

In the USA I see that Senator Rand Paul, who has had Covid-19, has spoken out against what he sees coming with the Delta variant:

“I think the tide is turning as more and more people are willing to stand up. I see stories from across the country of parents standing up to the unions and school boards. I see brave moms standing up and saying, ‘My kids need to go back to school in-person.’ I see members of Congress refusing to comply with Petty Tyrant Pelosi. We are at a moment of truth and a crossroads. Will we allow these people to use fear and propaganda to do further harm to our society, economy, and children? Or will we stand together and say, absolutely not? Not this time. I choose freedom.”

For his troubles Paul got a massive kickback from the US Left on Twitter, with more than a few people praising his former neighbour who broke six of his ribs (causing a piece of his lung to be cut out). That’s where we are in the West and I can’t blame governments for this when we have so many people who think like this.

But for me it’s actually this guy, Scottish archeologist and historian Neil Oliver, who sums it up:

For me, it’s all and only about freedom. For me without freedom, there is no point in anything. So take away all the numbers, all the statistics, all the models and predictions, all the promises and threats; all the steel hand in velvet glove coercion. Take all of that away. To me it all boils down into something simple.

I declare that I am a free man.

I was born 54 years ago into part of the world, just a relatively small part of the world, but I was taught that my freedom had been won for me by men and women who had fought and died to make it so. I was born just 22 years after World War II into a world, still full of those men and women who had fought for my freedom and lived to tell the tale

English writer Mervyn Peake said “To live at all is miracle enough.” It’s a good line and I’ve quoted it for years, but but now I see merely to live at all is not enough, not nearly. A caged bird is alive but without the freedom to fly the Limitless sky, it is denied everything that makes a bird in the first place. To be alive is not enough. What matters is to live in freedom. A bird is such a fragile creature. It’s really all and only about movement. Take away a bird’s movement and it’s a handful of feathers and air.

Freedom is not negotiable. You’re either free or you’re not.  Freedom is not even safe. Those who’ve been imprisoned are often terrified of freedom. All those choices, for all of our personal responsibility. This is why ex-cons often reoffend, to go back behind bars where it feels safer, out of harm’s way.

I have three children. Teenagers all. Often I think I would like to keep them close by me forever, where I can stop them doing stupid things. Dangerous things. If I kept them in the house no stranger would hurt them, but that would be no life. Not for them and not even for me. I would be their jailer and they would be my caged birds. As it happens, this past year-and-a-half has let me see what happens to children kept safe in the house. It’s not good, not good at all. And so if I didn’t know it before, I know now that I have to let them go into a world that is full of all manner of things, danger included.

Here’s the thing is, if your freedom means that I might catch COVID from you, then so be it. If my freedom means you might catch COVID from me then so be it. That’s honestly how I see it. For the sake of freedom…I will cheerfully risk catching COVID. That is a chance. One among many that I am prepared to take and happily. Life is not safe, freedom is not safe. For the sake of freedom, yours and mine together, both freedoms being of equal value, I will cheerfully risk much else besides.

Clean advice from Mr Dirty Jobs

Mike Rowe has become a bit of a fixture on cable TV in the last decade, specifically the Discovery Channel as a result of hosting several shows that took the rather unique approach of looking at so called “Dirty Jobs” (that’s the link to his website).

Dirty jobs meaning the sort of work that keeps our societies going even as they are largely invisible to the public, and the men – it’s mostly men – who are even more invisible. In each episode Rowe would try to do the job after some “training”:

In July 2006, the show aired two special episodes to kick off and wrap up Discovery’s annual Shark Week, of which Rowe was the host. The episodes featured him in a number of jobs related to the animals, some as outlandish as shark repellent tester and shark suit tester, both of which necessitated his jumping into a shark feeding frenzy.

I was amused to find that he’s quite a good singer, having once sung with the Baltimore Opera Company, but he also has his feet on the ground, which is why his Facebook response to a question about urging people to get vaccinated was so good.

Rowe starts off by saying that he has been vaccinated, but he wasn’t going to dispense medical advise to anyone else. Not only that but he regrets the Public Service Announcements (PSA) that he did in early 2020 when lockdowns were being pushed and all that was needed was “two weeks to flatten the curve.” He talks about how he did one PSA where he spoke about everybody being in the same boat, but now said he was quite wrong – that “while we were in the same storm, we were not all in the same boat”. Some prospered during this time, others hung on for dear life. So he said he wasn’t going to preach anything now:

Obviously, I made my decision, but again, I’m not a doctor. Thus, I am not equipped to answer questions like, “But Mike, if the vaccine is so safe, why hasn’t the FDA approved it? Or, “But Mike, if the vaccine is so effective, why is the government now treating us all as if we’re unvaccinated?”

These are fair and reasonable questions, and I have no logical reply. Here in California if you’re inside, you must now wear a mask, vaccinated or not. What kind of message does that send? Yes, we have a new variant, and from what I’ve read, it’s highly contagious, but far less virulent – especially if you’re vaccinated. According to the CDC, just one 1 in 27,000 vaccinated people have contracted it. That means if you’re vaccinated, you’re more likely to get struck by lightning than contract COVID. And yet, people are once again calling for more lockdowns, more restrictions, and more compliance from those who already got their shots.

The fact is, millions of reasonable Americans have every right to feel confused and skeptical. Those people you refer to, Steve – the ones now telling us that we can “get back to normal just as soon as everyone is vaccinated” – those are the same people who said, “two weeks to flatten the curve!”

Those are the same people who told us that masks were “useless” before they told us they were “critical.”

Those are the same people who told us that a return to normalcy would occur just as soon as “the most vulnerable” among us were vaccinated.

Then, just as soon as “half the population” was vaccinated.

Then, just as soon as we achieved “herd immunity.”

Those are the same people who told us they wouldn’t trust ANY vaccine developed under the last administration.

Now, those very same people are belittling the skeptics!

If this were a Peanuts cartoon, those people would be Lucy, pulling away the football at the last moment while a nation full of Charlie Browns land flat on their collective back, over and over and over again. Those people you refer to – elected officials, journalists, and most disturbingly, more than a few medical experts – have moved the goalposts time and time again, while ignoring the same rules and restrictions they demand we all live by. They’re always certain, usually wrong, incapable of shame, and utterly void of humility. Is it any wonder millions find them unpersuasive?

“While we were in the same storm, we were not all in the same boat”. I like that. Similar things can be said of the “Team of Five Million”. The one thing I would add to Rowe’s statement is when he says that “others hung on for dear life”: actually a lot of them slipped beneath the waves. Yet another blow to America’s middle class.

Also this.

And this.

Written by Tom Hunter

August 8, 2021 at 10:42 am